(My best friend for christmas gave me a book called 642 Reasons to Write this was the first prompt. A simple question, “what can happen in a second?” brought this about, idk if it’s worth a read that’s for you to decide. It only takes a second to decide what you’re going to occupy the succeeding seconds with, so in that second I decided to be arguably productive.)
What can happen in a second? If you think about it a second is a long time. It takes a second for a bullet to reach your heart. Only a second from when a beautiful girl catches your eye until your heart starts racing. A second can make or break a relationship, there is only a fraction of a second difference between “I love you,” and “I think we should break up.”
A second is the difference between winning or losing. I was in a race in higschool, 100 meter freestyle swim. My opponent and I were neck and neck way ahead of the other racers. Each stroke put us ahead or behind the other. We had no idea, however, we only wanted to be the fastest we could. It’s hard to see your opponent in the pool and looking would cost an all important second. A second away from your time and in a race that often takes a minute ± 4 seconds that is a lot of time. The race ended in just under a minute; 56 seconds for him, 57 for me. In that second all of the immense effort I put forth into swimming my ass off became meaningless as it only meant 2nd place. I’d beaten my best time, and most of my teams best times, but in that second I became second place.
Paramedics work in seconds. In that second that they lost getting stuck behind a wall of idiot drivers at an intersection they lose the heart attack, spider-bite, stroke victim they were racing toward. Same with police or firefighters. Any emergency is measured in fractions of a second. I’m sure and have heard stories of people being saved on 9/11/01 by the second they “wasted” at a stop sign, or turning back for their keys, or dressing their kids.
Songs and film even paintings work in seconds. In a second a piece of music can swell to a heart wrenching crescendo, or an actor can deliver that one line that brings the whole plot reeling from twist after twist to that final satisfying conclusion. When observing a painting, the extra second one takes to breathe and truly open their eyes to it can mean the difference between understanding or disregarding the piece.
In writing a second can mean everything. In the second that a potential reader takes to read the title or the first line of a story is the subconscious decision to continue reading or putting the book down.
The universe was created in a second, it took several more for it to become what it is, but it only took a second to explode into being. You, me, and everyone who’s ever lived were created in that final climactic second of passion. Well, speaking technically (read: less poetically) some people were created in that second of fertilization when a sperm – be it from the oh so satisfying natural way or the miraculous life changing science of insemination – all humans were created.
So there you have it, all life, humanity, animals, everything began in a second, and every second afterward can mean the creation or destruction of any number of things. So, and I usually steer away from such platitudes, but it seems so appropriate to say now, make every second count.